I just saw on TV last night that Facebook is up to 350+ million users which is nuts. It used to be this tiny private university network for students then it came and took over Myspace as a social network in which seemed to be a month. I remember when Myspace did that to Friendster about 5 years ago. I recently had a good friend of mine in town last week that is an old internet veteran of the dating space. He used to run a few affiliate programs for some popular online dating brands. He met his current girlfriend on Facebook through his ex-girlfriends friends. She contacted him so he didn’t have to troll friends-friends lists like many people do. The interesting thing about Facebook is that social connection sites have existed sine the inception of the internet like Classmates.com and Mylife.com (formerly Reunion.com) but since they had a pay to contact business model you usually didn’t go back to the site after you paid to get into contact with one of your old friends or high school sweat hearts. This killed their business even though I remember at one point that they had over 25+ million registered high school graduates on their sites. They just didn’t allow people to connect when they wanted unless they pulled out their wallets even though these people were once friends that had lost touch over the years.
Facebook.com has changed the game and face of dating via friends of friends which is classically how a lot of people actually meet in real life. The interesting thing about my friends hook up on Facebook is that his girlfriend lives in Montreal and is quite younger then he is and if they were both on a dating site like Perfectmatch.com or Match.com that there is a great chance that they would have never met no matter what they put down as their dating preferences because he is a very unique person in what musical tastes he likes and his taste in girls. He comes across as a rock-a-billy meets urban business man and he is tattooed almost top down. He seems to be attracted to the hipster-pin-up girl type. How do you tell that to a dating site? It just seems so complicated but whenever I see that type of person I usually say something like “So and So would probably like her huh?”.
Facebook can also be scary if you are a female that is trying to stay away from old creepy boyfriends and stalkers that can search for you by name or trolling your friends lists. Good thing Facebook fully understood this and put a ton of work into your privacy settings on who can see you and they even have a feature that allows your name to be unsearchable in their database. Pretty impressive stuff. It still doesn’t work too well for celebrities and sport figures. I have a friend that manages a few sports people and their wives won’t let them create facebook or twitter profiles for stalking groupies.
The permission based friendships are a great ice breaker and way to see who the person contacting you is friends with if you have never met them. If you think about a typical dating site you rarely see group photos on people’s profiles which doesn’t help you when trying to determine whether someone is a social person or what type of friends they might have. Facebook is all that and more. I have wedding photos, travel photos, concert photos, videos and links that I have posted to my profile. People that you meet on Facebook seem to not have a problem putting up personal items and posts since they feel that only people that they have approved are consuming the content.
I can’t wait to see what the face of Facebook will look like in about 3 years from now. Will it still be around or will the next social phenomena like Twitter takes its place? I know all of the early adopters of Facebook are pissed that us old folks have taken over and that it is just a fancy version of what Classmates should have been 10 years ago.